The New Milton Town Wessex league team, get their Hampshire Invitation Cup under way this evening as they make the short trip up the road to face Wessex Premier Division Brockenhurst FC.
Paul Turner and the team have played one competitive friendly against Dorset Premier League team Broadstone FC two weeks ago and have got back into the swing of training after the restart of football on March 29th.
The Linnets are in Group 3 of the Hampshire Initiation Cup where they are also joined by Brockenhurst FC, Ringwood Town FC, Bemerton Heath Harlequins and Winchester City.
The Linnets last played a competitive league/cup fixture on the 12th in the FA Vase 3rd against Clevedon Town near Bristol.
We spoke to New Milton Town Manager Paul Turner ahead of the first game against Brockenhurst to get his views on the build up to this competitive competition.
"We had to make a decision that would be best for the club financially and also take into account what is also best for the players and the team on whether to commit to a competition without having any fans in the stadiums which also has an impact of gate revenue as well.
We are also entering this competition without the use of a home pitch due to summer maintenance of the playing surface and upgrading the stadium ready for the new season, so the majority of our games will either be away from home or we will find and alternative venue if we need to play any home fixtures.
There was also the option to not be involved in the cup and to just play friendlies and treat it more like a pre pre season where the financial side of things would be easier with the majority of costs for friendlies being split between the two clubs.
The logistical challenges of not having a home pitch, along with the work commitments regarding midweek games is difficult, but myself and the management team are looking forward to driving the lads on and progress as far as possible in this competition.
This Competition will see us play three games in seven days with out first match on Tuesday away to Brockenhurst, followed by a trip to Ringwood Town on Friday 16th and then away again on Tuesday 20th to Winchester FC. The fixtures will come up really quickly after what seems like a lifetime without football. It won't just give the players more football but myself alongside Mark Haynes and Martin Pidgley as a management team, will have to ensure we manage the players in the right way to avoid any unnecessary injuries.
The most important thing about being in this competition is to give the whole team a purpose of playing competitive fixtures after a difficult start to the year and how our league campaign ended."